Tag Archives: Jump Jet

Commanding Officer of the Harrier squadron decimated at Camp Bastion among the Marines killed in the Taliban attack

The Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211 “Avengers” that was decimated on Friday Sept. 14, when a force of insurgents attacked Camp Bastion, in Helmand, has not only lost two Marines and eight of the ten AV-8B+ Harrier jets deployed in Afghanistan.

According to UTSanDiego.com, Marine and family sources have confirmed that Lt. Col. Chris “Otis” Raible, commanding officer of the Yuma squadron is among the killed in action of the unprecedented attack that resulted in the destruction of six jump jets and significant damage (possibly beyond repair) to two more Harriers belonging to the VMA-211, the unit he commanded.

The VMA-211 is part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing headquartered in San Diego at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

Raible led the “Avengers” when the unit, deployed to Afghanistan in April 2012, relocated from Kandahar Airfield to Camp Bastion on Jul. 1 and he’s depicted in most of the images released by the U.S. Marine Corps to give account of the transfer.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

Camp Bastion was in close proximity to all the units they supported and this gave the VMA-211 the opportunity to conduct more combat operations and communicate more effectively with the ground combat element.

Unfortunately neither Raible nor the rest of the “Avengers” could predict the attack that cost the U.S. the worst air loss to enemy fire in one day since the Vietnam War, that has rendered the Squadron unable to support the troops in the ground and compelled the Marine Corps to fly the remaining two airframes back home.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

Marine Attack Squadron loses eight Harrier jets in worst U.S. air loss in one day since the Vietnam War

On Friday Sept. 14, at around 10.15 p.m. local time, a force of Taliban gunmen attacked Camp Bastion, in Helmand Province, the main strategic base in southwestern Afghanistan.

About 15 insurgents (19 according to some reports), wearing U.S. Army uniforms, organized into three teams, breached the perimeter fence and launched an assault on the airfield, that includes the U.S. Camp Leatherneck and the UK’s Camp Bastion, where British royal Prince Harry, an AH-64 Apache pilot (initially believed to be the main target of the attack) is stationed.

The attackers fired machine guns, rocket propelled grenades and possibly mortars against aircraft parked next to the airport’s runway. Two U.S. Marines were killed in the subsequent fighting whereas eight of 10 AV-8B+ Harrier jets of the Yuma-based Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211 were destroyed (6) or heavily damaged (2): the worst U.S. air loss in one day since the Vietnam War.

The VMA-211 “Avengers” is part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing headquartered in San Diego at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar. It deployed to Afghanistan in April and relocated from Kandahar Airfield to Camp Bastion on Jul. 1.

According to Wikipedia, the VMA-211 last suffered this level of losses on Dec. 8, 1941.

Considered that the U.S. Marine Corps are believed to be equipped with slightly more than 120 AV-8B+, the attack on Camp Bastion has wiped out 1/15th of the entire U.S. Jump Jet fleet and a large slice of the Yuma-based squadron. A serious problem for the USMC, that was compelled to buy second hand RAF Harrier GR9s to keep the AV-8B+ in service beyond 2030, when it will be replaced by the F-35B.

Furthermore, the VMA-211 was the only Marine Harrier unit in Afghanistan: until the destroyed airframes will be replaced (most probably, by another Squadron), the coalition ground forces can’t count on the CAS (Close Air Support) provided by the Harrier.

Tom Meyer has contributed to this post.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

Italian Navy AV-8B+ Harrier 20th anniversary special colour

On Oct. 27, 2011, the Marina Militare (Italian Navy) celebrated the 20th anniversary of the GRUPAER (Gruppo Aerei Imbarcati), the squadron flying the Italian AV-8B+ Harriers. During the ceremony held at Grottaglie airbase and attented by the service’s Chief of Staff, Adm. Bruno Branciforte, a “Jump Jet” in a special colour scheme was presented.

As the following pictures taken by Raffaele Fusilli show, besides the Wolf (emblem of the squadron) painted on the tail, the aircraft (MM7224/1-19) wears the “30,000 flight hours” stencils just below the cockpit to mark the hours logged by the only Italian Navy squadron equipped with the Harrier since it received the aircraft in 1991.

Italian Navy AV-8B+ Harriers of the GRUPAER have recently taken part to the Operation Unified Protector in Libya, performing both DCA (Defensive Counter Air) and BAI (Battlefield Air Interdiction) out of the Garibaldi aircraft carried that has been involved in the air war in Libya from Mar. 25 to Jul. 27 with 7 Harriers, 1 EH-101, 2 SH-3Ds and 1 AB-212.

On Nov. 2, Adm. Branciforte welcomed the Italian Navy crews who took part to the war in Libya on board the Garibaldi docked at the Taranto Naval Station.

 

How to Fly the Harrier Jump Jet | Danger Room | Wired.com

A few days ago, I published a post to explain how the F-35 JSF flies in both conventional and STOVL (Short Take Off Vertical Landing) Harrier-like mode. The following article provides some interesting info and images about the AV-8B, a version much similar to the one flown by the Marina Militare (Italian Navy):

The Harrier made its final flight with the British RAF last week, marking one end to the jet famous for being able to take off and land vertically. The jet’s recently declassified flight manual shows just how extraordinary it is.

read the rest here: How to Fly the Harrier Jump Jet | Danger Room | Wired.com.